WILMINGTON, MA — Yentile Farm. Silver Lake. Ristuccia Arena (eventually, maybe). Athletic Fields. Basketball & Tennis Courts. Indoor & Outdoor Track. Playgrounds. Skate Park. Walking Trails. The Town of Wilmington provides residents with lots of recreational spaces, and it’s looking to add one more.
During his recent FY19 budget presentation, Town Manager Jeff Hull announced that the town will build three pickleball courts behind the Town Hall’s basketball area.
The cost — which includes tree removal, site preparation, and installation of paved and striped courts, nets and fencing — is estimated at $80,000. $40,000 will come from the FY2019 tax levy, while the other $40,000 will come from the Recreation Department’s Revolving Fund.
If approved at Annual Town Meeting, the courts will be built during the summer/fall construction season.
“We have had one group of people who have been persistently and, perhaps, impatiently looking for their opportunity to recreate in town, and that is the pickleball contingent,” acknowledged Hull. “We’ve tried in the last couple of years to accommodate this sport by retrofitting some courts, but – due to a number of different circumstances – it really hasn’t worked out.”
Pickleball has elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong.
“The sport is played on a court similar to a tennis court with ping pong-like paddles and a small plastic ball with holes similar to a whiffle ball,” reads Hull’s proposal. “The game is very popular in Florida and other parts of the country, and has seen an increase in popularity here.”
“I’ve not tried it, but I’m anxious to check it out,” said Hull, who noted it’s now being taught in phys ed classes in town.
Selectmen praised the courts inclusion in the FY19 budget. Selectman Ed Loud, who served on the Yentile Farm Development Committee, noted that – dating all the way back to the planning stages of the park in 2012 – there’s been a group of residents dedicated to bringing pickleball to Wilmington.
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